A giant squid that washed up on an Australian beach could be a previously unknown species, scientists said Monday.
The 550-pound creature was found dead Saturday on a beach in Hobart in Tasmania state and was transported Monday to the Tasmanian Museum. Experts were studying its unusual characteristics, which include long, thin flaps of muscle attached to each of its eight arms.
"What we've seen on this animal we haven't seen on other squid, and it's a significant feature," said zoologist David Pemberton. "It's basically like having a pile of muscles on your own body that nobody else has ... and I think it will rewrite the taxonomy."
The squid had lost its two tentacles, which Pemberton said would have been about 50 feet long.
Giant squid usually live on the edge of continental shelves, about 1,600 feet below the ocean's surface, he said.
Even if the scientists had wanted to, they couldn't have made a feast of the mysterious squid. Pemberton said it has a high ammonia content, which would make it inedible.